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Chapter 44: The Haunted Mansion by the Tarn (XI)


As soon as Feng Bujue saw this room, he reflexively blurted, “Can it be that this is SCP002….”

“What’s that?” puzzledly asked Long Aomin.

“Ah!” Wang Tanzhi suddenly shouted, “You should never ask. He’ll ramble on and on and lecture you for god knows how many hours!”

Feng Bujue ignored him and carried on, replying, “It’s a science fiction web-based collaborative writing project.”[1]

“Remarkable! Unexpectedly he summarized it with one sentence. Ah!” Wang Tanzhi shouted in alarm. “I remember the last time he explained something to me he nattered for a full three hours!”

“It was because you had such a serious expression on your face, and because I wanted to see how long it’d take you to say something.” Feng Bujue chuckled, he’d already entered the room made of flesh as he was recounting.

The other four followed him inside the room, not one of them wanted to stay outside in the continuously warping corridor.

“I suppose this is where the curse on the House of Usher resides: the center of its power.” Feng Bujue headed directly toward the two bodies. “I’d assume that since this entire room is actually made from the spirits or bodies of the many generations of the House of Usher, Roderick and Madeline will become part of this room sooner or later.” He grabbed Madeline’s leg and tried to pull her down, but failed. The intestines were wound too tightly, it seemed that pulling from below was useless.

Feng Bujue took out a chef’s knife from his inventory and gripped it in his mouth horizontally. Apparently, he was planning to climb along the body and sever the intestines at the top.

“Let me.” Rain pressed a hand on Feng Bujue’s shoulder, stopping him.

Feng Bujue turned his head around to look at Rain; she also looked back at him, straight in the eyes. At this point, she said nothing more and only used a finger to point at Feng Bujue, then at the floor.

“Alright….” Feng Bujue surprisingly understood her intentions. He fell to his knees and leaned forward with his back toward Rain.

Rain stepped forward, lifting her sword. She stepped right between his shoulders and leaped up with a light jump. Her sword drew an arc in the air, neatly cutting the intestines suspending the two corpses. The two bodies immediately dropped to the floor.

After Rain landed, she directed a remark to Feng Bujue, “Thanks for your trouble.”

“No… no problem….” On the contrary, Feng Bujue felt instead that he was the one to have troubled her.

At this moment Roderick’s apparition made a reappearance. He appeared outside the door, right behind Miss Sorrowful.

“You… can’t change anything….” Roderick said ominously.

His abrupt words startled Sorrowful. She immediately spun around sweeping her flashlight toward the doorway, but it shined upon nothing.

But on the floor, Roderick’s corpse began to stir, and the intestines wrapped around his body loosened effortlessly. The instant everyone’s eyes were drawn to the doorway, the ghost made its body stand up from the floor. Once again Roderick launched an attack at Feng Bujue, this time with his own body.

Feng Bujue was very alert. Yes, his eyes were directed at the door, but the moment he heard movement behind himself, he immediately reacted. He turned around and raised the chef’s knife to block; the blade stopped Roderick’s arm just in time.

Although the corpse regained its mobility, in the end, it was still made of flesh. Feng Bujue’s blade directly cuts into the flesh of Roderick’s right forearm, but it was caught on the bone, unable to fully sever the arm.

Long Aomin’s reaction was also quick. Upon seeing the attack, he lurched forward with an outstretched arm and shield edge raised, poised to strike Roderick’s temple in a sweeping motion.【Fragment of Ultron】was a Superior Equipment; the stats on “Secondary Adamantium” were nothing to be laughed at. Also considering Long Aomin’s physique that was like that governor’s, it was not strange that with one sweeping cut he sent the top half or Roderick’s skull flying.

The exposed brain matter was unexpectedly dark grey in color. It looked a lot like mashed tofu, and even gave off a nauseating odor.[2]

As soon as Feng Bujue saw half the corpse’s head sliced away, he promptly took out his pipe wrench with his empty hand and aimed a fierce jab at its chin. His unhesitant and impatient manner made others feel like… he felt that if he didn’t hurry to make his strike, then there’d be no head left for him to hit.

Seeing the situation under control, Rain made no move to help. Regardless, it wasn’t long until there was only Feng Bujue left “corpse punching”. He, with one hand wielding a chef’s knife and the other a wrench, used both weapons to mince the corpse that had already fallen. He continued to pulverize Roderick’s horribly mutilated body and it was only when Roderick’s organs spilled out and the large bones in all four of his limbs were pulverized that Feng Bujue stopped. He then breathed in relief, “Phew…. Shouldn’t be getting up anymore.”

This time, even Lil’ Tan who is used to seeing corpses couldn’t bear it anymore. He covered his mouth as he said, “What do you mean get up… in the state that you left it in, could it ever attempt to ‘get up’? This lump of mush (is so ground up that it) can be made into dumplings….”

With Roderick’s body destroyed, his ghost appeared yet again in a corner of the room. “It’s no use… my flesh was originally going to merge with this house. And you all… will be joining me soon-zzz.”

Before his voice died down, the door to the room shut on its own. The flesh on the surrounding walls began to throb and on a wall appeared a large mouth that grew sharp pointed fangs. Judging from its size, it could eat a man’s face in one bite.

“Hey… Jue Bro, what do we do now?” Wang Tanzhi took out his chef’s knife but didn’t know what to attack. Should he go chop up that meat wall?

“If a tongue or something similar comes out of that wall, I’m out….” said Sorrowful as she looked at the mouth on the wall, her face betrayed an expression of disgust.

“Since we were going to be swallowed eventually, why put in the extra effort to possess your own body to attack me…?” harped Feng Bujue. He raised his flashlight to shine it on Roderick’s ghostly form, but the latter seemed to no longer fear this ray of light now.

“Oh… in this room you’re not afraid of light?” as Feng Bujue spoke, he walked over to Madeleine’s corpse and crouched with a flourish.

Roderick’s face very obviously betrayed an expression of astonishment. “What are you going to do?”

“Madeline’s spirit is unwilling to become a part of the House of Usher. Her form appeared briefly in the cellar, calling to me for help,” said Feng Bujue. “I thought about it carefully… that phrase ‘Let me out’, shouldn’t be asking me to save her and get her out from her coffin, because she’d already escaped when she was alive.” After confirming Roderick’s reaction, he stood up again and grinned. “What Madeline wants is for me to get her body out of this room so that she can avoid merging with the house like you.”

Roderick’s face became more and more twisted, his fiendish expression thoroughly taking over his human features. “Take a look around you… how will you take her out?”

Feng Bujue countered, “Does this scene around me really exist? If this room is capable of eating people so quickly, then your two bodies would’ve been devoured already to the point that scraps wouldn’t be left, right?” He swaggered over to the wall and extended a hand to touch the face that bulged from the wall.

The others said nothing, nor did they have any intention of stepping forward to stop him. Feng Bujue’s self-confident tone and steady movements made people feel he was quite assured.

Roderick only vehemently glared at him, but did nothing.

Feng Bujue’s hand passed through the mirage of flesh, touching the real wall behind made of ordinary wood. “As expected… an illusion concealed this room’s real appearance. In that case, now I just need to find…” He suddenly paused, “Heh heh, I’m so stupid. Where else would it be?”

Feng Bujue moved toward the corner where Roderick stood. The latter’s expression became alarmed and he let out an indignant snarl. But Feng Bujue completely ignored the translucent specter, passed through his body, and probed the wall behind Roderick’s body with his hands.

Several seconds later, Feng Bujue had both palms up, straining to open a window whose edge was at a height slightly higher than his waist.

【Current mission has been changed; Main mission has been updated】sounded out a message.

In the mission log, the Main mission【Explore the Mansion and look for a way to escape.】finally received a check mark and a new mission appeared【Break the formation; escape the Mansion.】

The blood moon’s crimson light shone through the window. The instant Roderick came in contact with this red light, he faded away without a trace. At the same time, the ray dispersed all the illusions, returning the room to its original appearance.

This was just an attic, completely made of brick and wood and absolutely had no flesh, bones, hair, and such things. And the two bodies weren’t suspended by intestines a moment ago, but rather by two lengths of coarse rope.

The room was completely bare except for the middle of the floor on which was carved a strange formation. This was likely a pattern generated by the game and could not be researched.

Right now the only thing left in the room that was somewhat terrifying was the body Feng Bujue pulverized a moment earlier.

The other four finally also breathed a sigh of relief. Wang Tanzhi wiped cold sweat off his brow and said, “Forced me to be on edge for half a day; turns out there was no way for this house to injure people.”

Feng Bujue arrived at the formation on the ground and carelessly took his knife and scored some marks into it. “This room is likely just the whole house’s ‘head’. After the people of the Usher family died, they’d then be sent here: just like food ‘fed’ to the Mansion.” He shot a glance at the mincemeat next to him. “Their bodies would disappear, and their souls would merge with the house to be transformed into all kinds of strange things. Perhaps those things that looked like distorted statues and deformed portraits were precisely the projected images of some family members.”

He stood up after he finished carving on the formation and retrieved his weapon. “Furthermore… when I entered and caught sight of the two corpses, I was once again suspicious…. Madeline’s words on the coffin ‘He knows’ indicated that perhaps he wasn’t Roderick at all….”  

“What? Could it be that it was the novel’s narrator?” asked Long Aomin.

“No, the narrator is obviously innocent, but…” answered Feng Bujue, “There’s still other people besides the two masters in the House of Usher…. The short story only had a few sentences regarding this matter. I remember there was a ‘silent valet of stealthy step’ and a family physician who ‘wore a mingled expression of low cunning and perplexity’.”

“You’re saying, the people of the House of Usher were possibly victims as well?” asked Sorrowful.

Feng Bujue surveyed his surroundings, apparently looking for something, before giving a somewhat absent-mindedly response, “Perhaps the family of the House of Usher had been watched by some strange religious organization, and consequently had become an experiment…no, sacrificial goods. After a family member died, they’d be presented to this Mansion. Who knows what is going on with this Mansion…. Maybe this Mansion’s power comes from some made-up evil demonic god.”[3]

“Above.” At this moment Rain suddenly spoke one word.

Feng Bujue immediately raised his head, there he saw, on the slanted ceiling, the last stanza of “The Haunted Palace”.

【And travellers, now, within that valley,

Through the red-litten windows see

Vast forms that move fantastically

To a discordant melody;

While, like a ghastly rapid river,

Through the pale door

A hideous throng rush out forever,

And laugh—but smile no more.】

【Side mission completed】pinged the System notification.

Feng Bujue let out a sigh. He spoke, “Alright, the rules (governing the house) are broken; this mansion should return to its normal state now. We should be able to quickly find a way out now.”

“Why don’t we just jump through this window and be done with it; it’s not easy to find an exit!” said Wang Tanzhi.  

“Then you jump.” Feng Bujue lifted Madeleine’s corpse from the floor and headed to the door way. “Good luck.”


Footnotes:

[1]The SCP Foundationis a fictional organization that is the subject of a web-based collaborative writing project. SCP stands for “Special Containment Procedures” and SCP002 is basically a room that kills people and where furniture made of the people who died appear mysteriously.

[2]Like some brands of stinky tofu, though not all stinky tofu looks black.

[3]This for some reason can also be tled as Baal aka Bael.


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One thought on “[TP] Chapter 44: The Haunted Mansion by the Tarn (XI)

  1. Thank you translator and editor! I always wait for the next chapter of this novel whenever the week changes. One of my top 3 novels that I always look forward to read each week 🙂

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